Twenty years after disappearing and leaving his wife "agunah" (bound in marriage by a husband who is missing), a French Jewish man has been located in an Israeli jail and has agreed to give his wife a divorce.
The affair began about 20 years ago, when the man left his wife and children and disappeared. The family attempted to locate the husband for years, but to no avail. The man, apparently due to financial difficulties, disappeared without a trace.
All these years, the husband resided in Israel and in Europe. In Israel he even served six jail sentences, and is now serving his seventh after being convicted of property and violence offenses.
The prisoner, 45, who is serving his sentence in a prison in the Sharon region, leads a secular life.
The man's son is studying in a yeshiva in Israel, and after the family received information that the missing husband was in jail, the yeshiva's rabbis turned to the Israel Prison Service's chief rabbi, Yehuda Yekutiel Vizner, and asked for his help in locating the father.
Rabbi Vizner managed to locate the prisoner and tried to persuade him to give his wife a divorce. After the man eventually agreed, rabbinical judges arrived at the court, got the man declare that he was giving his wife a divorce and to sign the divorce papers, and the woman was finally released from marriage.
Sources in the IPS said that after signing the divorce papers, the prisoner was visited by his son. The two, who had not seen each other for 20 years, shed many tears during the visit.